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Three-pointers put VMI over Liberty, Wednesday
The Liberty men's basketball team continued Big South play, Wednesday night, taking on the VMI Keydets inside Cameron Hall. Head coach Dale Layer's squad took an early advantage in the contest, but the three-point shooting ability of VMI helped the home team prevail, 82-69.
With the defeat, Liberty falls to 4-12 on the year and 0-2 in conference play. VMI improves to 7-7 on the year and 2-0 in Big South action. The Keydets' win knots the all-time series at 14-14. VMI is now 9-5 all-time inside Cameron Hall.
Davon Marshall led Liberty with 15 points, followed by John Caleb Sanders (14), Tavares Speaks (13) and Tomasz Gielo (12).
Big South leading scorer Stan Okoye paced VMI with a game-high 20 points and 10 rebounds. D.J. Covington concluded the night with 18 tallies for the Keydets.
Liberty shot 45.2 percent from the field (28-of-62), while the Keydets finished the night shooting 46.2 percent (30-of-65). The Flames won the battle in the paint, 32-28, but VMI outscored Liberty from the three-point line, 36-18.
Liberty took an early four-point lead at 16:46 thanks to an authoritative one-handed jam from Tomasz Gielo. With Liberty still holding a four-point advantage at 15:25, the Keydets proceeded to go on a 9-0 run off a trio of three-pointers from Okoye, Tim Marshall and Dorian Albritton. The Flames closed the gap with four unanswered points to make it, 15-14, at 12:11.
A 7-0 Keydet burst increased the home team's advantage to eight points. The Flames got within five tallies in the remaining minutes of the period, but the Keydets three-point shooting and the post presence of Covington helped VMI carry a 10-point lead into the locker room at halftime. Glasgow closed out the half with an acrobatic layup with three ticks on the clock to make it 38-28 at the end of the stanza.
In the second period, the Flames pulled within five points of the Keydets, courtesy of a Sanders layup at 17:12. Liberty proceeded to go scoreless of the next four-plus minutes, allowing VMI to post nine unanswered points. Gielo halted the burst, sinking a jumper to cut the deficit to 12, 50-38, 13:01.
The Keydets took their largest lead of the night (19) with a three-point play by Okoye at 9:05. Liberty tried to chip away at the deficit, making it a 10-point game off a Speaks layup with 4:17 remaining in the game. The Flames did not climb any closer, as a dunk by Covington sealed the 82-69 VMI victory.
VMI remains inside Cameron Hall, Saturday, taking on Winthrop at 1 p.m.
Liberty returns to action on Saturday, playing host to Coastal Carolina. Tipoff inside the Vines Center is slated for 6 p.m., with the contest airing live on the Liberty Channel, ESPN3 and MASN.